Does Your Child Have a Learning Difficulty?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, March 16, 2021

Is your child not reaching their potential at school? 

Up to 80 percent of all learning comes through the visual pathways.

Vision gives us the ability to see near and distant objects, thanks to the 17 visual skills that provide us with clear and comfortable vision.

Strong visual skills are critical for all aspects of learning. If there are problems with your child’s visual pathways it can impact their ability to learn.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) 25 percent of all children have a significant vision problem that impacts their learning.

If your child has a problem with their visual skills, their learning could be affected. The best way to find out if your child is suffering from a vision problem is to schedule an eye exam. 

Vision problems can impact your child’s learning

Vision problems can affect a child’s reading, attention, spelling and all aspects of their school grades. 

The two main areas that are needed in school are reading and writing. If your vision is compromised then a child’s academic performance may suffer.

How is reading affected by vision?

If your child has difficulty reading it may not be a learning issue, but rather a vision problem.

Vision skills in saccades and visual integration can affect a child reading abilities.

Saccades is a skill that enables fluid reading. This skill allows your eyes to move smoothly across the line, in coordination.

Without it, a child may omit words in a sentence, or make word assumptions that can affect the meaning of the passage and/or sentence.

Visual integration is a skill that allows you to read words accurately, seeing the order and shape of each letter, in a word. Additionally, laterality enables a child to understand that the English language is read from left to right, starting from the top of the page.

Without visual integration, a child may confuse letters such as p and q, or b and d, or confuse words such as ‘was’ and ‘saw’.

If your child is having difficulty reading at grade level they may have a vision problem. Schedule a complete evaluation of your child’s vision and visual skills to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

A program of vision therapy will likely be recommended to strengthen their visual skills to improve reading fluency.

If your child is not achieving to their potential at school: contact an eye doctor near you that provides comprehensive eye exams and vision therapy for children.

SEE RELATED: Eye Conditions That Can Affect Academic Success

Find an eye doctor for children near you

How is spelling affected by vision?

If your child has difficulty spelling it may be a vision problem and not a learning difficulty. Vision skills in pursuits and focusing skills can affect a child spelling abilities.

Pursuits enable your eyes to scan across a word, with smooth binocular movements, in order to read the word accurately, sounding out each letter in the word.

Without this visual skill, a child may omit sounds, reading ‘world’ as ‘word’. They may even make an assumption that a letter ‘l’ is there, pronouncing the word correctly, even though it was not seen. These assumptions and omissions often lead to spelling mistakes.

Focusing skills allow you to see a word with absolute clarity. If a child has poor focusing skills, then they may exert too much energy in making sure the word is seen clearly, which can affect their word memory.

If you have noticed that your child has been making numerous spelling mistakes which are preventing them from performing well in school, schedule a comprehensive evaluation of his visual skills— they may benefit from a program of vision therapy.

Vision therapy and learning

If you think your child may have a vision problem, schedule a comprehensive vision evaluation.

The Find an Eye Doctor search can provide you with a list of eye doctors near you that may be able to detect any vision problems, and can discuss the benefits of vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a highly effective treatment program that involves a series of eye exercises to strengthen the eye-brain connections and improve the visual skills.

LEARN MORE: Vision for School

If your child is reading below grade level: contact an eye doctor near you that provides comprehensive eye exams and vision therapy for children.

It is important to treat vision problems as early as possible to achieve optimal results, and enable your child to reach their full potential in school.